Ella Fitzgerald and her Enduring Influence

A very happy and classy birthday to jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, who would be 98 years old today.

Fitzgerald has one of the most distinct voices of jazz, forgoing the melancholy that marked Billie Holiday‘s work and the politicism that marked Nina Simone‘s, instead, giving a light, warm, joyful tone to the jazz singer. To this day, the voice of the First Lady of Song is legendary.

Fitzgerald was responsible for recording some of the most famous renditions of the Great American Songbook, recording three albums covering Cole Porter‘s, Duke Ellington‘s, and Irving Berlin‘s songbooks. Fitzgerald also made history in 1958 by being the first African-American woman to win a Grammy — for best individual jazz performance and best female vocal performance.

Musically, Fitzgerald introduced scat singing to the jazz world, putting her crystal clear diction and improvisational skills to good use. Her voice has man of the same qualities of a jazz horn, bright and warm with impressive experimental ability. In addition to this, Fitzgerald, like most of the jazz greats of the time, was a consummate collaborator, many of her most famous recordings coming out of joint sessions with Louis Armstrong.

Fitzgerald’s bright voice endures today, remaining popular with jazz fans. She passed in her California home in 1996.

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

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